Dreamers & Doers: Vista Apex – “We Develop Products That Clinicians Actually Need and Want”

May 1, 2021
Dental Products Report, Dental Products Report May 2021, Volume 55, Issue 5

Special Advertising Content: Vista Apex Chief Dental Officer/Chief Operating Officer Michael Miyasaki, DDS, shares how the recently merged company is using the individual strengths of Vista Dental and Apex Dental to create a new company focused on helping dentists.

Q: What led to merging Vista Dental Products and Apex Dental Materials to create the Vista Apex brand?

MM: Vista Dental Products was known for high-quality endodontic solutions and small equipment such as the EndoUltra, an ultrasonic device to help get the irrigants into all the lateral canals of a tooth. Apex Dental Materials was a very distinguished restorative company known for codeveloping materials with John Kanca, DMD.

Now we have the innovative spirit that both companies brought, along with the industry experience and very distinguished, long histories of excellence in manufacturing materials, solutions, and different kinds of small equipment. I think it is really a win-win, and it’s one of the things that attracted me to join. We hear the stories about how 1 plus 1 equals 2, but you bring things that are synergistic together and I think right now, with Apex and Vista together, we’re 1 plus 1 equals 4. That’s one of the things that gets me excited about coming to work every day.

Q: How does this affect customers and the products Vista Apex develops?

MM: We have clinical involvement because we want to develop products that clinicians actually need and want. We want our customers to depend on us and know they’re going to get a quality product at a good price, and they’re going to get it when they need it. We need to take our industry expertise and the quality of our engineering and bring everything together. So what that amounts to is, I think, superior product innovation.

All throughout our company, we’re training everybody on what dentists do and how we’re using the product. They know they’re not just making a syringe of some material but actually what that material is going to do. All of us within this company love the industry, and we want our customers to know that we really care about them and the products that we’re delivering because they’re going to affect people’s lives.

Q: Describe your new role as chief operations officer?

MM: I have a couple roles at Vista Apex, and it is kind of a dream come true. I’ve been involved with clinical dentistry for 34 years, and in education for over 30 years, and being able to bring all that together is really nice. My role today is to help us stay focused on what clinicians need.

We’re looking at product development a little bit differently. We’re going to listen to our customers and really see what they want and then develop around that with the team. We’re also going to provide education to our customers and help them be more successful in their overall practice. If we have a product they really like, we want to make sure they understand why that product stands out. We want to provide education to help them use that product in the most effective way so they can achieve success.

I think my involvement with Vista Apex as an active clinician helps us stay on target, and my educational background allows me to offer the information to enjoy more success.

Q: What role do practicing clinicians play in the innovation strategy at Vista Apex?

MM: We designed ways to listen to our customers. We have focus group calls and our sales team is constantly talking to our customers. So, what makes Vista Apex different is that we have a constant dialogue with our customers.

And then there are the educators—the key opinion leaders—and we really listen to them. They’re also making a lot of contacts with clinicians when doing education programs, so we reach out and ask, “What do you see that your audiences are asking for? What do you see as an industry leader? What do you see as a need?” We are taking this feedback in all the time and trying to design around it. We don’t just design things we think the industry needs, but we design things that people actually want.

Q: What makes PinkWave a different kind of curing light?

MM: PinkWave sales have exceeded our already high expectations. With this innovative light, it all came down to this: “What do you do with those lights most of the time?” We’re curing composite restorations, and there are 2 areas where our composite restorations are failing: 1, if they’re undercured; 2, if they’re shrinking, creating microgaps at the margins.

We developed the PinkWave light, which allows us, with the new QuadWave Technology, to cure up to 8 mm in depth. Additionally, we see a decrease in shrinkage by up to 26%, depending on the type of materials we’re using. If we are able to get that depth of cure so we have thorough curing and are able to decrease the shrinkage that we see at our margins, we should have greater success.

Q: Why are bioactive materials becoming a bigger part of restorative dentistry?

MM: Bioactive materials have been around—or at least the term has been around—for a long time. A lot of the bioactive materials in the past released fluoride to the tooth to help desensitize it or heal it. But there were some drawbacks, like some of the current bioactives needing to be bonded into place. You’d actually put adhesive down and then place the bioactive composite over that adhesive. But this was just your traditional conventional adhesive, and it sealed up all the pores, the dental tubules of the tooth, and you put this bioactive material over the top. I relate it to if my child went out and scraped or cut their finger. In that analogy, we put the bandage on and then put the ointment on the outside of the bandage. The ointment really won’t be able to do a whole lot, but we want to kill the bacteria and help seal the margin.

So again, the engineers at Vista Apex went back and said, “What are we really trying to accomplish? We want to get the ointment down over that wound first and then put the Band-Aid over the top.” Now we put Bioglass into the adhesive so the composite goes over that.

It doesn’t just release fluoride but also actually attracts calcium and phosphate ions. And so, let’s say, worst-case scenario, we used a conventional curing light. We have a microgap at the gingival floor, but we had that Bioglass down there. The Bioglass will attract calcium and phosphate ions and help seal that microgap. The other advantage we’ve seen with Bioglass is that the material actually helps buffer the acidity.

It’s kind of a culmination of all the dreams of clinicians: “I can place something down there, and you know, it might last a lifetime.” I can’t make any guarantees. Every clinical situation is different. But now we’re giving the patient, I think, the best hope for that [outcome].

Q: What are the advantages of having a full suite of bioactive restoratives such as your RE-GEN line?

MM: In the oral environment, everything is subjected to bacteria and acids. Vista Apex has created these bioactive materials for use throughout the restoration. There is a suite, as you mentioned, and I will tell you that as this science kind of expands, we’re going to come up with more and more uses, because I think this truly is the best thing that we can do for our patients.

Q: How does Vista Apex stay innovative?

MM: The entire team, from those shipping the products out all the way to the top of the executive teams, is committed to what we care about: our customers. We’re going to develop the quality products our customers want. We have such a uniquely qualified team, including our chemists, our different engineers, our sales and marketing teams, and those that produce everything that we ship out. This pride of taking care of our customers runs throughout the company. For me, it really is a privilege to work here because we have that caring attitude, and I hope those that see this have a chance to experience that.

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